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Chekhov's Doctors

Chekhov's Doctors I'm a stout man with a baritone voice who never reads much and lacks the grace of refinement. You'd wonder what makes me think I'm a judge of character. Laevsky, who stands to his knees in waves of learning—he believes his life is absurd and comforts himself by clamoring about Tolstoy, while the rest of us suffer. He trumpets our degeneracy—corrupted Russia sucks the moral fiber of its young. I don't think it's evil that makes him say ‘love is impossible' or behave so callously toward his mistress who relinquished prudence for his bed. Instead of depravity, I'd give him a diagnosis—softening of the brain. Von Koren—let's call him a naturalist whose blind faith in science is touching. To him, a mole's thorax is like the nave of a church, or so he talks—too much. The embryology of jellyfish inflames him—but you'd think he burns with nastiness on the route to fame. Von Koren hates Laevsky's guts and mocks the drivel, How I envy the happy children of nature who know nothing of civilization! My diagnosis? A virus of the heart that makes him pompous, cruel and dense. Now, to the duel—Laevsky defends his mistress' honor, though he doesn't subscribe to honor. The scientist plans to kill the aesthete. Laevsky plans to fire astray. If I told you the match's outcome, you'd regret that it lacks a definitive stroke— you'd want a death, at least, or a burst of truth. As it is, their lives go on. Suddenly, you see—Laevsky's worked for months to pay his debt, Von Koren shakes Laevsky's hand. So much for insight, so much for the world of ideas. As for me, I'm satisfied that I escaped from doing them harm. I chalk it up to experience. Now, let's talk about love. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png JAMA American Medical Association

Chekhov's Doctors

JAMA , Volume 279 (4) – Jan 28, 1998

Chekhov's Doctors

Abstract

I'm a stout man with a baritone voice who never reads much and lacks the grace of refinement. You'd wonder what makes me think I'm a judge of character. Laevsky, who stands to his knees in waves of learning—he believes his life is absurd and comforts himself by clamoring about Tolstoy, while the rest of us suffer. He trumpets our degeneracy—corrupted Russia sucks the moral fiber of its young. I don't think it's evil that makes him say ‘love is...
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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0098-7484
eISSN
1538-3598
DOI
10.1001/jama.279.4.270
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I'm a stout man with a baritone voice who never reads much and lacks the grace of refinement. You'd wonder what makes me think I'm a judge of character. Laevsky, who stands to his knees in waves of learning—he believes his life is absurd and comforts himself by clamoring about Tolstoy, while the rest of us suffer. He trumpets our degeneracy—corrupted Russia sucks the moral fiber of its young. I don't think it's evil that makes him say ‘love is impossible' or behave so callously toward his mistress who relinquished prudence for his bed. Instead of depravity, I'd give him a diagnosis—softening of the brain. Von Koren—let's call him a naturalist whose blind faith in science is touching. To him, a mole's thorax is like the nave of a church, or so he talks—too much. The embryology of jellyfish inflames him—but you'd think he burns with nastiness on the route to fame. Von Koren hates Laevsky's guts and mocks the drivel, How I envy the happy children of nature who know nothing of civilization! My diagnosis? A virus of the heart that makes him pompous, cruel and dense. Now, to the duel—Laevsky defends his mistress' honor, though he doesn't subscribe to honor. The scientist plans to kill the aesthete. Laevsky plans to fire astray. If I told you the match's outcome, you'd regret that it lacks a definitive stroke— you'd want a death, at least, or a burst of truth. As it is, their lives go on. Suddenly, you see—Laevsky's worked for months to pay his debt, Von Koren shakes Laevsky's hand. So much for insight, so much for the world of ideas. As for me, I'm satisfied that I escaped from doing them harm. I chalk it up to experience. Now, let's talk about love.

Journal

JAMAAmerican Medical Association

Published: Jan 28, 1998

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